Afghanistan is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with more frequent extreme weather events and temperatures that are increasing faster than the global average. These factors, coupled with the legacy of four decades of war, a complex humanitarian emergency and an economic crisis since the Taliban’s takeover of the government in August 2021, have heightened the vulnerability of the Afghan population.
• Climate-related extreme weather events and natural hazards threaten Afghan livelihoods, increase poverty and food insecurity, and erode the resilience of communities, households and individuals.
• Climate change and environmental stressors contribute to widespread internal displacement and changing migration patterns. Displacement and rapid urbanization can exacerbate food and livelihood insecurity, place additional pressure on environmental resources and increase the vulnerability of marginalized groups, particularly women and girls.
•In a security landscape that continues to be marked by the presence of armed actors, climate change may heighten the risk of local conflicts over land and water resources.
•In the absence of an inclusive governance system, local natural resource competition and conflict elevate the risks for marginalized social groups and can exacerbate political and economic inequality.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN specialized agencies and their partners have continued to operate in Afghanistan since August 2021, providing humanitarian and emergency assistance through the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan and the Transitional Engagement Framework. While physical access by UN agencies and partners has become easier due to a dramatic decline in security incidents since August 2021, international sanctions and political concerns—including about the Taliban’s increasingly repressive policies towards women—have reduced the scope for medium- to long-term planning, financing and programming in addressing climate and environmental challenges. UNAMA should continue to work with local communities and the implementing organizations still operating in Afghanistan to strengthen climate adaptation and resilience, especially for the most vulnerable groups
This article is originally published by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and can be found here
Photo credit: UNAMA News/Flickr